All students charged with an alleged violation are guaranteed certain rights including the right of appeal. The focus of a hearing board shall be whether the accused is responsible or not responsible for violating disciplinary regulations. The process is designed to protect the safety and welfare of the Limestone University community.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the Judicial Board is to offer students charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct a fair and impartial hearing and to deliver a judgment based on that hearing.
JUDICIAL BOARD MEMBERSHIP: The Judicial Board shall be composed of five members: two faculty, one administrator or staff member, and two students. The President of the University shall appoint all members and alternates of the Judicial Board. The President shall fill vacancies as needed. Within the first two weeks of classes in the Fall Semester, the Provost will conduct at least one training sessions for the Judicial Board members. If an individual is appointed to the Judicial Board after the training sessions have been held, the Hearing Coordinator will hold an individual training session.
RESPONSIBILITY OF JUDICIAL BOARD: Judicial Board members should not enter a hearing with a preconceived opinion of the innocence or guilt of the accused. If Judicial Board members find that they cannot begin the hearing without a prior judgment, they must excuse themselves from the hearing process. Judicial Board members are expected to be at all hearings at the scheduled time. They should listen politely to the accused, victim, and the witness(es), and in a non-threatening manner ask appropriate questions. Board members may find it beneficial to take notes of statements given by the accused and the witness (es).
HEARING COORDINATOR: The President of the University will appoint one of the two faculty members of the Judicial Board as Hearing Coordinator. The responsibility of the Hearing Coordinator is to insure that all appropriate evidence is presented in a way that is fair and clearly understood by all persons involved.
RIGHT TO AN ADVISOR: Both parties may have an advisor from the University community attend any disciplinary hearing. Both parties have the right to be assisted or consulted by a person of their choice from the University community. The advisor, advocate, or Ombudsperson’s role is to help either party prepare for the judicial proceedings, and serve as nonparticipating support at the hearing. The advisor may only converse with the alleged violator. The advisor must be registered with the hearing board at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing.
VICTIM’S ADVOCATE: Victims of Student Code of Conduct violation(s) have the right to an advocate. The advocate may attend any disciplinary hearing. The Victim Advocate is available to assist all students, faculty and staff who have experienced actual or threatened violence, including but not limited to battery, assault, stalking, sexual battery (date rape, acquaintance rape, stranger rape) and attempted sexual assault.
STUDENT OMBUDSPERSON: Students accused of Student Code of Conduct violations have the right to an advisor from the Student Ombudsperson. Notice of charges will be in writing and will include a statement of the availability of the Ombudsperson as advisor. An Ombudsperson is, as Webster defines it, “one who investigates complaints and assists in achieving fair settlements.” Members of the University community who are considering filing a complaint or grievance are encouraged to consult the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson has no authority to make decisions, nor are they an arbitrator or a mediator. The role of the Ombudsperson is to provide counsel to the accused on the process to be pursued, and, at the accused’s request to seek to discover and clarify facts related to the incident or incidents causing the complaint or grievance. The Student Ombudsperson shall act as a student advocate and will assist the student in preparing the case. The Ombudsperson also receives inquiries and questions about the practices and services provided by the University for students. The Ombudsperson shall also have the right to advise students during Administrative and/or Judicial Hearings. The Ombudsperson is independent of the Community Values office staff and provides information about what steps to take before a judicial hearing is held. The Ombudsperson also makes recommendations to the University administration to improve the judicial process. Therefore, the Ombudsperson’s role is available for the entire campus community, faculty, staff, and students.
WITNESSES: A witness is a person who has information of particular relevance to the incident. For example, the person may have actually seen the incident as it occurred; the person may have heard significant sounds, words, or statements, etc., while the incident was occurring; or the person may have some information, which in the opinion of the Hearing Coordinator or Director of Community Values, may make that person a relevant witness. If a person agrees to appear as a witness, they shall make a statement regarding the incident. This statement will address the relevant information concerning the incident. The Director of Community Values will review all documents, statements and reports, and explain to all witnesses the date, time and location of the Judicial Hearing Board. A person will not be forced to attend, speak, or otherwise participate as a witness.
RETALIATION: After a complaint or report has been filed, any form of retaliation toward witnesses or parties involved will not be tolerated. Retaliation may be used as evidence and could be grounds for additional policy violations in the proceeding before the Hearing Board.
BIAS: A victim or accused may object in writing to the Hearing Coordinator that a member of the Judicial Hearing Board may be unable to be an impartial decision maker. If the charge of bias is against the Hearing Coordinator, the objection should be submitted to the Director of Community Values. Alternates will be chosen at the discretion of the Hearing Coordinator. All objections must be submitted at least two business days prior to the scheduled hearing.
ELECTRONIC RECORDING: All hearings are recorded. Recordings made by the University will be stored on the University server and will identifiable by names involved and will remain the property of the University. The recordings are for the use of the University only and will not be made available to students. Recording the hearing is not permitted by either the Complainant, Respondent, or by those appearing as witnesses. All parties present at the hearing must recognize, and honor, the fact that everything stated in the course of the hearing is to remain confidential, subject to the University’s implementation of its policies and sanctions, its obligations to its community, and legal requirements.